I've blogged before about how SMBs' relative lack of red tape tends to make them more innovative than their larger counterparts.
That point was brought home to me recently when I attended an Indiana Venture Capital Conference in Indianapolis. Part of the event were two contests modeled on the "American Idol" TV show. During the contests, one for SMBs and the other for college students, entrepreneurs pitched their product ideas to a panel of judges. The top three finalists in both categories received cash prizes to help advance their business.
As detailed in this Indianapolis Star piece reprinted on TMCNet.com, the winners included a company that created a method that uses fluorescent dye to detect cancer cells, another that built a robot designed to accurately cut golf greens, and a group of Indiana University students that made a lip gloss with appetite-supressing ingredients.
I was impressed by the ingenuity and professionalism exhibited by all of the contestants, the breadth of their ideas and also by the state's strong support of its entrepreneurs through programs like the Indiana 21st Century Research and Technology Fund.
And oh yes, I really enjoyed Guy Kawasaki's keynote address.